President Giorgi Margvelashvili, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Parliament Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze commemorated the 24th anniversary of the fall of Sokhumi on September 27, 1993, marking the end of the armed conflict in Abkhazia in 1992-1993.
Speaking at the wreath laying ceremony at the memorial of fallen soldiers in Tbilisi, President Giorgi Margvelashvili said “many Georgian heroes gave their lives for protecting their homeland” during the defense of Sokhumi, calling September 27 “the day of national mourning and great tragedy.”
The President also remembered the representatives of the regional government of Abkhazia, who were captured and murdered during the fall of Sokhumi, including Sokhumi Mayor Guram Gabiskiria, who was posthumously awarded by Margvelashvili the title of a National Hero.
In his statement on September 27, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said the fall of Sokhumi was “one of the most tragic dates in the history of our country,” calling the conflict “a fratricidal war, with great number of victims and occupied territories.”
“The war has divided us, but we are ready to begin the relationship with our [Abkhaz] brothers from a new page. We are doing everything possible to restore the territorial integrity of Georgia through peaceful means,” said Kvirikashvili, adding that the Abkhaz and the Ossetians had “common future” with Georgians.
The Parliamentary Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze, who also visited the memorial of fallen soldiers, said he was paying his respects to “the people who gave the most precious thing they had - their life - to the homeland and the integrity of our country.” Kobakhidze also stated that he was confident Georgia would celebrate unification “together with our Abkhaz brothers and sisters.”
The Georgian government dispatched troops to the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia in 1992 to protect the Abkhazia section of the Russian-Georgian railway. The government troops were forced to withdraw from the region in September 1993, following the violation of the July 27 ceasefire that included the withdrawal of the heavy Georgian weaponry from Sokhumi and its surroundings.
Sokhumi was attacked on September 16 by Abkhaz militants and mercenaries from the Russian Federation, and fell after 12 days of street battles. September 27 is associated in Georgia with the loss of Abkhazia and the ethnic cleansing of Georgians that occurred in that region.
Reportedly, more than 12,000 people died during the armed conflict. Around 300 000 remain displaced.